And now … a message from Legless Santa

Well, here at it feels like about a year since last Christmas. When we looked just now there was a tree in the corner festooned with flashing coloured lights, so we reckon it must be Christmas again. It’s kind of hard to tell for us. This year we’ve been flat out like a bunch of thirsty lizards, what with babies arriving, careers changing, going away on trips, meeting people, doing stuff, saying goodbye to people, coming home from trips, making deadlines, moving house, running businesses, staying put and generally juggling work, family, surf and the gloriously pointless self-indulgence that is What we REALLY want to say to you, our loyal following of lunatic-fringe-dwelling oddball friends, is this. Thanks for hanging on with us through the last year. We really appreciate the feedback that trickles in from you all out there in the sandy corner of cyberspace we inhabit. Chayne found this picture of Legless Santa, and we saw it as a neat metaphor for where we’re all at, or where we’d like to be. We may be killing it, we may be going over the falls, but either way we’re gonna do it in the style of our choice and enjoy every single second.

Merry Christmas, one and all. May the fat feller fill your stockings with comfort and joy, and may Hui bring you a few festive waves as well. See yez in 2015!

Rob Harwood - Albert Munoz - Chayne Simpson - Steen Barnes

Bud Scelsa, Mau Loa.

We learned yesterday that Captain Bud Scelsa, subject of a recent post here, passed away peacefully at home. A lifelong surfer and sailor, Bud spent his life working and playing in and around the ocean. He touched many along the way with his love and respect for the sea, the Hawaiian people and their culture. Bud placed his greatest love - sharing waves with friends - at the very centre of his life. He did it long before surfing was taken seriously and he did it in a way that made absolutely no concessions to fashion. His love of riding waves was pure, steeped in Aloha. Bud was particularly proud of a kneeriding paipo he built a few years ago from wili - wili and redwood. The four wili - wili pieces represent the four main Hawaiian Gods: Ku, Kane, Lono and Kanaloa. He named this board “Mau Loa”, which means forever. Bud had been gravely ill for some time. In his last few months he drew strength and solace from the Aloha he had spread as it returned to him through friends. Legless is proud to have been a small part of that. We wish him well on the voyage on which he has now embarked. “Pae kaua!”


Chus goes bananas!

If you’re one of the many for whom the business of finding waves suitable for surfing is largely an exercise in frustration, take heart from our Spanish correspondent, Chus Fiochi. With his penchant for waves of real size and power, Chus often goes weeks without surfing anything at all. His flat-spell fitness programme involves a lot of endurance, cardio and pool training, but it’s common knowledge that all the above rank a poor second behind time in the line-up: no amount of exercise can compensate for not surfing. Despite this, Chus is a regular face on big days at his local, somehow always ready when a big Atlantic swell arrives. We’re not sure what it is that gets Chus out there and keeps him frothing until either the conditions deteriorate or his equipment fails. It might be true grit, it might be water and bananas, but we reckon that more than anything, it’s his love of the power and speed you can only find in big, grinding barrels. We’re pretty stoked that he has that love and that he got out to surf the swell that hit his part of Spain in early December. We’re also stoked that he sent us a bunch of photos. We’ll let the man himself tell the story.  

This is my local point break spot, Santamarina Island.  This was the day after the swell peaked and the Big Wave event at Punta Galea (which was really stormy and onshore for this spot). The swell was still 5m at 18 seconds. It had so much power it was incredible. I surfed in the morning for 2.5 hours but it had a bit of morning sickness and was basically just big drops, although it was super fun. As usual when it’s this big there were few people surfing. Some sat in the corner just watching or catching really small waves. The people taking the bigger waves all had boards from 8’2’’ to 10’4’’. I have to sit about 30m inside from these guys to catch my waves. It’s incredible how much earlier they can take off, while I have to elevator drop most of mine, and even more so when the swell has this much period and is moving so fast. Many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it but somehow got to the bottom. My 6’5’’ Native worked so well, as she always does when the waves are clean.

I hadn’t surfed in 2 weeks because the weather had been very stormy, but I had done a lot of training in the swimming pool. I was feeling a bit tired after the morning session, and since the wind was starting to blow strong sideshore, I decided to go home. Halfway there something clicked in my mind and I decided to turn around, just in case something good came up in the afternoon. I went to the supermarket to buy some bananas, chocolate and water and went back to the point to wait. Oh boy, thank God I did! In the afternoon the wind was quite strong - sideshore, enough to hold you up in the take-offs but offshore enough to clean the face and hollow up the waves. It was a true Santamarina day in all its glory, a day to which many others will be compared. I was so happy with the way I surfed. I entered the water with a mentality like it was much smaller. I pulled into a couple barrels that I didn’t come out of and air-dropped basically every wave that came my way. I also got to surf what I think was one of the best waves of my life. 

I have been day-dreaming about this session for 4 days now.

 The photographer was Rafael G. Riancho, who’s one of the best photographers from the area. Rafael is very dedicated. He showed up in the morning, stayed for the whole session and then went for a quick bite before returning to shoot the whole afternoon session, even though it’s quite cold here right now.

Photos: Rafael G. Riancho

Edited: Rob Harwood

Words: Chus Fiochi


Meanwhile from our European brother……

The name of the spot is Liencres, that was the first decent barrel I have had since April 21st this year, Besides being an awful summer swell wise, the banks have been really bad because the beaches lost a huge amount of sand during all the big swells last winter. That is also my first good session with my new Diplock board, and I loved it.

The name of the photographer is Jose Pellon.



Island dreaming: east meets west in the South Pacific.

Part TWO…

 From Tom Linn

It was a classic kneelo scene. All five of us rode completely different boards and had very different styles. Simon rode his Flashpoint thrusters of course. Bill was on various Blast four fin Fishes. Tony rode self-designed boards customized for his size. Pete rode boards with low volume noses and tails and I rode my Lil’ Tavi round pin which I designed myself under the label of my local surf shop, Infinity Kneeboards.

One day I watched Big Tony paddle beyond the take off point to the outer reef and proceed to physically manhandle Cloudbreak with at least five consecutive tubes. Pete surfed top to bottom all the time no matter how big the wave. Simon and Bill were fearless and not the least bit intimated by Cloudbreak with good size. Once, while I paddled frantically up the face in the Shishkabobs section, I watched Bill pull into the deepest, heaviest shack which he ended up getting spit out of! Yowza! Simon just put on a clinic of committed rail-to-rail surfing. I saw him from the back of one of the bigger waves: a huge fan of spray and all three fins above the lip while his board impacted in the lip facing down. He made it and the surfers in the line-up were totally blown away.

From Peter James

One of the memorable parts of the trip for me was seeing five kneelos having a crack at Cloudbreak and getting nods from the standup guys. I never surf with other kneelos – no agenda there – just have always kicked around with regular surfers. So one of the personal highlights for me was to surf with four other kneelos who made me feel like part of their family! The genuine spirit of camaraderie and the stoke we shared in the water has given me a desire to connect with other kneelos in the future. One afternoon will live with me for a long time. Cloudbreak was in a good mood and a happy 4-5 foot. It was like a point break with long, friendly walls and no evil outside closeouts. All the kneelos were out with just a handful of stand-up surfers. Everyone was having a ball.

One of my good mates was on the trip. Dave always gives me shit about being a kneelo, but gives me plenty of kudos too. It’s good friendly banter between us. After a small onshore but fun session at Restaurants, he and I paddled in for a late beer. As I was paddling in, I spotted Simon paddling out. Dave and I grabbed a beer at the Restaurant and were watching the two footers roll through. Even onshore, it’s a great setup. I don’t think Dave knew Simon was out, and I’m pretty sure he’d never seen him surf.  We were both watching when Simon took off on this pretty average 2 footer that walled up nicely, but was already broken about twenty feet ahead. In the blink of an eye, he executed an extraordinary, explosive roundhouse turn into the top corner of the wall, swung it around, smashed into the section behind, bottom turned and destroyed the lip on a closeout reentry. It was all so clinical and all executed in the space of a phone booth. My mate almost dropped his beer. ‘Did you see that? What the fuck was that? That was insane!’ I had to smile. It was a nice moment – sure, it was probably one of the poorest conditions Simon had that week, but it demonstrated that kneeboarding is alive and well.

From Big Tony

This is one of two trips we have on the island each year, but the first time we’ve had this many kneeriders with us. Leading up to the trip I put the word out to a select few that I had openings and would be stoked to have a few core kneeboarders join us if possible since some of my main crew were not going this year. In the past it’s usually been Freddy Rodriguez, Randy Morris and Joe Coyne. Aside from those guys I’ve only surfed with one other kneeboarder out at Cloudbreak once, during the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro. The guy was from Sydney and staying on the mainland.

This didn’t start out as a kneeboard-based trip, but became one pretty quick as Tom Linn was the first to pony up and get on board, followed by Simon, then Billy and then Peter James. None of us had ever met Peter and it was my first time meeting Simon, although we had traded several emails. Tom and I have been friends for almost 30yrs; Billy and I for at least 15-20yrs. The trip came together nicely and before you knew it we were off.

Barbara and I came on island a few days earlier than the rest of the group to get warmed up and score the swell that was hitting before our week started. I had three solid days at Restaurants with just a few guys out during the medium-lower tide sessions. Surf was 4-6ft with solid 6ft + sets coming in. I was laughing because the other island Namotu was full of fisherman only and no surfers that week, so crowds were light.

We met our crew on the island that Saturday and welcomed them Fiji style. It was windy; but blowing trades, so it was changing constantly. Most of the guys went for a surf right away and some of the kneelo crew and I surfed the evening session with solid sets out at Cloudbreak. There were a few cappers breaking out on the ledge during our session. We had great waves all week and everyone surfed their asses off at some point each day. It was great surfing with these guys and everyone was charging. I was hampered by gnarly injury during the trip and not 100%, but I had a great time and surfed hard none the less. I’m having Achilles surgery on the 25th of September, so that gives you an idea of what I was dealing with while in paradise …

On Simon

Seeing Simon surf up-close for the first time was mind blowing. I always knew he ripped, but his low, driving Dee Why - ( Chin Down Mate, Chin Down) - inspired bottom turns and barrel riding were clearly tip top. He quickly adapted to Cloudbreak and tore the ass right out of it. We surfed a lot together and I shared my knowledge of the place and what I had learned from the main guys there - like the owners Jon Rosemann and Rick Isbell, GM’s Dylan and Kaeo, Lifeguards Gade, Jimmy and Lono as well as the Fijians Aca, Ise and Ulai. (This was my 18th trip to Tavarua and over all those trips these guys have taught me something new each time. I can’t thank these guys enough!) Simon and I hit it off right from the start and realized we had a lot in common from all angles outside of surfing; our daughters both have the same name too. We got on the piss, had a blast, even killed fish one day and had poke for the entire crew. Good times and I’m stoked to be able to say that Simon and I have become good friends and are already making plans to travel together again in the near future.

On Billy

Billy has always been a charger and a big part of the Blacks Crew. He may be 4ft nothing, but he’s got balls the size of Sherman Tanks and will go on anything. This was Billy’s 20th trip to Tavarua and it showed on the biggest days. He was going for it and had a new quiver that Bud McCray sent him that was geared especially for big Cloudbreak. Billy was pulling into everything and if he wasn’t pulling in or taking big drops he was flying down the line and doing huge top turns. It was great to finally surf in Fiji with Billy. I have a ton of respect for him.

Many of us were thankful he was on the trip, because at some point during the week he worked on all of us - bringing us back from being hurt, broken or just plain surfed out - so we could keep going. When it’s pumping like that for 10 days straight it takes a toll on your body, especially for those of us over 40yrs but we kept going for it and Billy made sure we were ready to go. Thanks Billy …

On Tom

This was Tom’s first trip to Tavy and the first trip with any of us from what I know. Tom surfed really well and scored some real magic sessions out at Restaurants mostly, but had a couple of good afternoon sessions with me at Cloudbreak too. There was one session in particular that Tom and I were out at Cloudbreak together and racked up wave counts in the high double digits. I was sitting up at the top of the reef and Tom was in the middle section leading in to Shishkabobs. The swell angel was really south that day and perfect for Cloudbreak, it likes a straight south which pulls away from the roof and literally makes it run like a point break. I like sitting up high on the reef when it’s like this because you can take off high and make it all the way through past the boats at the end of Shishkabobs which we were doing this day. I saw Tom get some great waves and was stoked to see him really surfing well and having a good time.

On wipeouts

It was funny because Simon was asking me in the boat about getting caught inside and what to do and where to go. I told him that we call it ‘doing a tour of the inside’ or a ‘Hot Lap around the tower’. He paddled up to me on one of the biggest days of the trip and said “Mate, I just got a proper, proper 6ft barrel and one of the worst floggings I’ve ever had. Oh, and I officially took my first Hot Lap at Cloudbreak”. We laughed our asses off, paddled back out and did it all again!

I didn’t see Peter’s wipeout, but heard he free-fell from top to bottom on a solid 8ft set and got detonated at the bottom. Billy and I both got blown up at Cloudbreak on the last day during our morning session. I was caught inside trying to get back out and Billy was taking off and had to go around me which put him out in the flats. We both ended up swimming. I lost my fins and Billy lost his board and we were both done and headed back to the boat, calling it quits.

Last session

Billy, Simon, Kevin Naughton and I rode back to the island beaten and battered after that last morning. It was big and wonky with a rising swell and the wind had torn it up pretty bad the night before so there was a lot of lump in the waves. I was determined to go back out and get redemption since I was leaving later in the evening while the others were leaving that morning. I said goodbye to those that I could and ran back to my locker to grab my other 6’6” pintail and new flippers. I ran past Simon without saying goodbye and jumped back in the boat with Kevin and Conner Coffin and headed straight back to Cloudbreak. I keep two 6’6” pintails, a 6’3”pin tail and a 6’5” chop tail on the island at all times: all shapes inspired by our friend Bruce Hart. We got there with a dropping tide and a rising swell. It was at least 2-3ft bigger than when we were out there earlier. As soon as we hit the water the wind switched to side-offshore and the wave faces were clean and groomed. Kevin and I went straight to the top and Conner and one of the other lifeguards, Branden, went to the middle section and for an hour we all scored mental top to bottom barrels. We all came back afterwards saying we couldn’t believe how perfect the direction was for it and how much bigger it was getting. A lot of water moving across the reef though, and the current was a bitch!

My last wave was a solid set that pushed from the top of the point. I pulled in right from the bottom turn and drove through to the middle section, but got clamped down on and driven to the bottom just before Shishkabobs. The visual in that barrel is the only thing I can still see vividly from the trip. It was big and round and I was staring straight at the island while holding my line. I got driven down into a hole and had the longest hold down I’ve had to date at Cloudbreak with my 6-6” tombstoning for who knows how long. I swam up my leash and came up to see everyone looking at me to make sure I was OK. All I could do was yell out a loud hoot and paddle to the boat with a huge smile. Redemption had been achieved! Cloudbreak will make you feel invincible but at the same time will humble the shit out of you within the blink of an eye. You must show respect and be willing to pay to play with her …

Overall the experience of having 5 kneeriders on the island was great for me. I normally travel alone or with a select group of guys, but having this group come together the way we did was truly inspiring and walking away with newly forged friendships is wonderful. The fact that each of us had specific quivers from five different shapers was cool in itself, let alone being able to watch the different styles: everyone charging in their own right!

Giving thanks

It needs to be mentioned that going to Tavarua extends far beyond great surf and all the fun things that go along with being there. It’s about the Fijian people and their willingness to take you in, accept you as one of their own and make you feel at home. For me this is one of the most important aspects of visiting Fiji as often as I do. It’s truly a second home for me and my family and we’re thankful for all it has given us over all of these years and for the years to come. We’re very involved with the villages that make up Tavarua and as of our last trip took some steps with one of the Yako Village elders, Waiseki, to assist in creating a Pre-School/Kindergarten for the village children so they can have books and supplies that will assist their learning before they go to primary school. Watching my wife, Barbara, read books to the kids and interact with them from an educational perspective was something I will never forget. Vinaka Vaka Levu ….


Tom Linn, Big Tony Alvarez, Bill Lerner & Peter James

Edited: Rob


Island dreaming: east meets west in the South Pacific.

Part ONE…

There are certain breaks that have always been potent totems for all surfers. Most of them are and will remain places of mystery to the majority of us, and for good reason. The mere mention of Tavarua conjures visions of oceanic swells rolling in from the deep blue to detonate over shallow coral reef. Cloudbreak especially is now synonymous with mountains of moving water, a byword for waves of consequence that can make or break reputations. Many of us may dream, but few will ever find the opportunity to surf such waves. Among those few is a bunch of West Coast USA legless brothers and their associates who have been quietly making annual trips to Tavarua for a very long time. Some of them either are now or once were legendary figures in the surf pantheon. All are surfers who not only dare to dream, but also dare to realise their dreams in reality. As a surfer who shares their deep-seated passion for clean, powerful, hollow and uncrowded waves, it was inevitable that Simon Farrer would one day make the Tavarua pilgrimage: that day finally came earlier this year. What Simon didn’t realise was that this would be one of those times when a rare confluence of disparate forces would bring about something utterly unplanned, unexpected and unique. Of course Simon returned with a few stories and it’s our good fortune that he was good enough to share them with us here. It’s our even better fortune that there were other participants also willing to share. Read on …

From Simon

Tavarua is a place I have always wanted to go to from the first time I read the stories in surf magazines and saw footage of these insane waves called “Cloudbreak” and “Restaurants”. I had seen a couple of photos many years ago of Rex Huffman laying over insane bottom turns, which now I can completely understand and respect so much more after surfing the wave and having so much speed and power - which is everything kneeboarders search for. I don’t know what happened over the years but I never did go. Last year I was desperate to go on a surf trip but confused about where. Places were either booked out, overpriced or I had been there, done that. Looking online for different destinations I came across Tavarua & straight away got excited that maybe now was the time to finally go. I was talking to a friend in America who mentioned that Big Tony is the man to go with. I had heard stories about Tony - although I’d never met him - so I sent him an e-mail introducing myself and before I knew it I was booked in with him for my overdue trip to Tavarua.

I then contacted my good friend Bill Lerner, my right hand man when travelling. I’ve travelled to Hawaii, Mexico & Indonesia with Bill over the years and recalled his stories about how insane Cloudbreak is and how much I would love it. I had to invite Bill as he had already been to Tavarua over 20 times. Bill charges hard from 4ft to 10-15ft - fearless, respectful, always positive and smiling. It was never intended to be a kneelo trip.

As far as I was concerned it was just the 3 of us going at the same time. I had no idea that Tom Linn was coming. I first met Tom back in 1986 at the World Amateur Titles in Newquay, England, the first American kneeboarder I ever met! Peter James is a Victorian solo kneeboarder, quietly spoken, chilled & easygoing, enthusiastic to surf with other kneelos. Peter charged both Cloudbreak and Restaurants. I didn’t even know Peterbut the group of guys he was going to Tavarua with had got wind of some World Champion kneelo from Australia who was going at the same time, so he sent me an e-mail introducing himself and … that’s how we ended up with a total of 5 kneeboarders. 

In the week leading up to our departure I was more anxious than I’ve ever been about any surf trip before. I wasn’t anxious about the wave, but more the thought of not getting swell and the chance to surf Cloudbreak and Restaurants. We had just seven days on Tavarua, Saturday to Saturday. I checked the long surf forecast multiple times a day, every day. The first time I looked it was horrific - small to tiny waves with onshore winds. I felt sick to the stomach that my one chance was going to end up a disaster. I kept checking leading up to the departure date and things just started changing and went from bad to possibly very good: 3-4 days of 4-6ft+ and good winds. Things were looking damn good!


Visible from the tower on the island of Tavarua is this atoll that sits out all on its own a couple of kilometres away. The wave itself wraps around this sharp, shallow and unforgiving coral reef full of colours and sea life. The one thing that I never realised about this wave was how many different faces it has. The more south-angled swells produce playful & completely rippable walls. With more west in the swell the wave becomes more down the line, bending wide in towards a draining Shish-kabobs section. It’s a very intimidating wave over 6ft with a SW direction. When your wave came through all you could focus on was how much wall there was down the line. It would hook around so much it almost looked like it would close out over the infamous Shish-kabobs. You would either get a barrel that put your heart in your mouth or it would bitch-slap you then manhandle you over the extremely shallow and unforgiving reef.

It was a humbling experience when things went bad. Some of my worst experiences were either after pulling off a wave or falling off and coming up along Shish-kabobs and seeing a freight train wave or waves thumping down the reef behind you. There was nowhere to go to escape the beating. Turn around and drydock on razor sharp coral, risking bad cuts & snapped fins or paddle like your life depended on it for deep water, trying to out run this train of destruction … which only put you in a worse position unable to confidently duckdive due to the water draining off, leaving the reef only a foot deep and wanting to rip the skin off your knuckles. The best thing was to just stay put and either duckdive shallow or swim shallow and just cop it. Everyone experienced this with different outcomes. High tide and low tide had such a huge effect on the way the wave ran along the reef. Slight degree changes in the swell would either make it more intense on the outside take off area or open up the inside section over Shish-kabobs. Every day was a different experience and you had to adapt to her moods. I absolutely loved this wave!


This wave is named after the restaurant on Tavarua, which it breaks in front of over what is easily the shallowest reef I’ve ever surfed on. This wave is nothing less than a machine. We didn’t get it as good as it gets but what we did get was this extremely fast mechanical phenomenon. On one session it was only 4ft but the speed you could generate out of every turn was hard to comprehend. Being able to do half a dozen serious top turns in a row while maintaining full speed is an experience you just don’t get often, if at all. I paddled out one day and dove over the reef you surf on and it’s alive, full of colours and shapes. I even found a rash vest that the reef had stolen from some poor surfer and over the years had grown around it I guess and it’s now a permanent fixture to the sea floor.

The two waves (Restaurants & Cloudbreak) are so different but provide so much reward in different ways. Restaurants is tight and in the pocket, below sea level constantly keeping you on your guard, just waiting for you to nose dive or go too deep before scraping you along the coral. Cloudbreak is pure steroids on the takeoff with big, strong and powerful turns needed to negotiate the mass of water in each wave. Pulling into these beasts really tests your courage.  Restaurants feels like a skate ramp that never ends and comes across playful … until you push it too far. I would give my left nut to surf this place glassy and 4-6ft.


I think my best day was the second last. Bill and I were on the first boat out to Cloudbreak and were pleasantly surprised when approaching the line up to see the swell had picked up from the day before. I’m sure there were 15 wave sets, then a short break, then they would just come marching through again. I didn’t even wait for the boat to stop. I jumped out and paddled into an empty line up faced with 5-6ft+ funnelling barrels with the odd bigger sets. I think I got half a dozen all time barrels in a row within 30 minutes. Full down the line barrels, pumping inside to try and keep up and just feeling this effortless glide and quiet surrounds with the tingling sensation of the wave spitting once or twice to complete each ride. Bill and I were giggling and hooting like little kids. It lasted for about an hour of endless sets before backing off somewhat to your normal set up of a few waves per set. I have no doubt that Bill knows which session I’m talking about!

 My best memory of a wipe-out goes to Peter James. I had caught a wave right through Shish-kabobs and was paddling back out when I saw a set approaching. It looked chunky and had quite a few waves in it. The first wave someone attempted to stand up on but the bottom just dropped out - he just ate shit, which I thought was pretty heavy , but it still made me giggle. The second wave - easy 6ft - another stand up surfer paddled in, free fell out of the lip, somehow landed on his board and attempted to engage his rail before he was guillotined by the lip and absolutely smashed - again I giggled with an aw shit remark. Then the 3rd wave I noticed Peter stroking into a solid 6ft beast. From the moment I saw it I thought ‘oh shit, Pete!’ It had a lot of SW swing on it and it was draining so much water off the reef that as he was paddling into it he appeared to be going up the wave backwards towards this thick lip that was starting to get thicker and steeper by the second. It seemed to be moving too fast for Pete to get into it but I don’t think Pete had any doubt in his mind as he stroked into this nasty wave. The strong offshore wind held him up high and as he went to get up, the face just dropped out and the ocean pushed forward with Pete hung up in the lip. Pete got launched - still completely attached to his board - free fell all the way to the bottom and landed sideways on the deck of his board with an ugly bone-crunching bounce … followed by the full force of the lip into his back. He looked like he was just vapourised

 I admit to laughing but at the same time screaming FARK! I thought without any doubt he was going to be hurt, so I sat up on my board waiting to see if he came up. It was so intense! I was truly concerned for him (sorry for laughing Pete). Anyway, he ended up coming up uninjured. I later spoke with him and he told me at no point did he think he wasn’t going to make it. Heavy! 

 Happy hour.

This trip was the first time I had ever met Big Tony but after a couple of days he was like a lifetime friend. We got along like best mates! Mr Tavarua, generous, full of knowledge, surfs hard. I can’t thank this man enough for bringing me on this trip. Getting to know the big fella was so cool. Finding out we had so much in common was just weird. 

Another person who inspired me to seek out my travel dreams to Tavarua was Kevin Naughton, a surf traveller/journalist who pioneered the idea of getting out there and finding unexplored waves in the 70’s & 80’s with his travel mate and kneelo Craig Peterson. I had read his articles years ago & watched a film of these two guys “The Far Shore”. There was a shot of Kevin jumping off a boat at Cloudbreak into an empty line up - I think in the mid eighties. I was shocked when I turned up to Tavarua and on the 2nd day, during happy hour around the pool bar, I was introduced to this old, crusty but well-spoken fella called … Kevin Naughton! When I was introduced to him with a brief run down of his history I spoke up and said I know exactly who he is. I hit it off with him straight away. One of the most interesting people I have ever met. The stories were insane and his connection and experiences and respect towards kneeboarders is so cool.


I took with me 2 x 6ft boards and 1 x 6'2. The main 6'0 I surfed was my yellow & black Flashpoint squash tail thruster which handled up to a solid 6ft Cloudbreak. I had a back up 6'0 which was my classic SF model rounded double fly pin tail thruster which I never got to surf because the chop tail fired on all cylinders. My step up board was my black bitch - all black 6'2 rounded double fly pintail thruster - which comes into play from 8ft upwards. I got to surf this board at the beginning of the trip and the last day when it was firing.

stay on your knees…part two is not far away

Words: Simon Farrer

Edited: Rob